Port Polson Players launch 43rd season

Shows include premiere of “After the Ball” and favorites “Foxfire” and “Souvenir”

On Stage
Port Polson Players: "After The Ball"
Starring in Port Polson Players premiere of “After the Ball” are (clockwise, upper left) Jake Nachtigal, Neal Lewing, Amy Knutson and Katie Farrell.Photo © Port Polson Players

The Port Polson Players step into their 43rd season of summer theatre July 5-22 with a regional premiere of “After the Ball.” “Foxfire” and “Souvenir” round out the summer offerings.

After the Ball,” authored by Diz Winter, is a fast-paced show that chronicles America’s westward expansion through music, history and a load of laughs. The title song, “After the Ball,” was the first American song in the 20th century to sell one million copies of sheet music; it eventually sold five million copies in an era when families gathered in the parlor to sing and play music.

Subtitled “A Musical Ballyhoo of the Westward Musical Movement,” the show features tunes from the Gay 90s through the Roaring 20s, along with the title song, parlor tunes, ragtime, cowboy ballads and Tin Pan Alley favorites. Medleys from Irish composers and beloved American songwriters George M. Cohan and Stephen Foster are also on tap in this rip-snorting production. The cast includes Players’ co-producer Neal Lewing, Polson actress Amy Knutson, Missoula guest artists Jake Nachtigal and Katie Farrell and pianist Angela Claver.

Next up is the Hallmark Hall of Fame classic “Foxfire,” by Susan Cooper and Hume Cronyn. The witty and wise drama/comedy plays July 26-Aug. 12.

Annie Nations and her husband Hector loved their life together in the Blue Ridge Mountains, but when Hector dies, Annie has to decide if she can handle the wilderness on her own. When son Dillard, a rising country-music star, returns, he must deal with a slick real estate agent to decide the fate of the farm. Montana Governor’s Arts Award recipients and Players co-producers Neal and Karen Lewing star as Hector and Annie.

Wrapping up the summer season Aug. 16-26 is Stephen Temperley’s masterful “Souvenir.” Missoula favorite Alicia Bullock Muth returns to the Polson stage in this musical retelling of the true story of Florence Foster Jenkins, an American socialite who was noted as the world’s worst opera singer. Despite her awful voice, she starred in a sold-out performance at Carnegie Hall in 1944.

Directed by Andy Meyers with scenery designed by Jay Roberts, this comic masterpiece has toured Montana to rave reviews. Bullock Muth is joined by Billings native Travis Kuehn, who plays pianist Cosme McMoon.

All shows are presented at Polson’s Theatre on the Lake, on the Polson golf course. Curtain times are 8 p.m. Wednesdays-Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays.

Reservations are available by calling 406-883-9212 or at portpolsonplayers.com. All shows are produced by Port Polson Players in association with The Mission Valley Friends of the Arts.